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CLD-124

NOT PRECEDENTIAL
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT
___________
No. 10-3977
___________
MAURICE DONNELL COOPER, Appellant
v.
T. R. SNIEZEK; J. PETRUCCI;
R. MAURER; G. TALAMANTES;
J. DIEHL; C. BRILL; K. BITTENBENDER,
sued in their individual and official capacities;
U.S. FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS
____________________________________
On Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
(D.C. Civil No. 1-09-cv-02427)
District Judge: Honorable Sylvia H. Rambo
____________________________________

Submitted for Possible Dismissal Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B)


or Summary Action Pursuant to Third Circuit LAR 27.4 and I.O.P. 10.6
February 25, 2011
Before: RENDELL, FUENTES and SMITH, Circuit Judges
(Opinion filed: March 17, 2011)
_________
OPINION
_________
PER CURIAM
Maurice Donnell Cooper, a federal inmate proceeding pro se, appeals from the
District Courts grant of summary judgment. Because we determine that the appeal is
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lacking in arguable legal merit, we will dismiss it under 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B).


In his suit, Cooper raised a multitude of constitutional claims against both the
Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and its personnel at the Federal Correctional Institution at
Schuylkill. Nearly all of his claims related to two incident reports Cooper received while
incarcerated there.
The first relevant incident report was issued in June 2009 in response to Coopers
absence from his food service job. Cooper filed an administrative remedy contesting his
punishment, and he eventually appealed its denial to the Northeast Regional Office of the
BOP. The Regional Director determined that the incident report had not been properly
completed in the first instance and remanded the matter for prison officials to do so. The
Regional Directors order remanding the matter indicated that Cooper could file a new
administrative remedy after he received the corrected report, but he did not do so.
The second relevant incident report was issued in October 2009 and charged
Cooper with lying to a prison staff member. Cooper contended that he failed to seek a
staff representative or to call witnesses at his disciplinary hearing because he
misunderstood his right to do so, and that the resulting punishmentincluding the loss of
good conduct timetherefore violated his due process rights. After filing an appeal of
his punishment to the Northeast Regional Office but before receiving any decision,
Cooper initiated this action in the District Court. Coopers appeal to the Regional office
was eventually denied, as was his subsequent appeal to the BOP Central Office.
Coopers only claim unrelated to these incident reports alleged that prison officials
denied him access to the courts by misrepresenting his indigent status and refusing to
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provide him with photocopies free of charge. He contended that this prevented him from
meeting court deadlines and resulted in the denial of a petition of certiorari to the
Supreme Court.
Cooper moved the court for a preliminary injunction and both he and the
Defendants sought summary judgment. The District Court concluded that all of Coopers
claims relating to the incident reports were unexhausted and therefore barred, and that
Cooper failed to support the denial of access claim. Accordingly, it granted the
Defendants motion for summary judgment and denied Coopers motions. Cooper
moved the Court to reconsider, and that motion was denied. He now appeals.
An appeal must be dismissed under 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B) if it has no arguable
basis in law or fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). We exercise plenary
review over the District Court=s order granting summary judgment. See DeHart v. Horn,
390 F.3d 262, 267 (3d Cir. 2004).1 Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (the
PLRA), a prisoner is required to pursue all avenues of relief available within the
prisons grievance system before bringing a federal civil rights action concerning prison
conditions. See 42 U.S.C. ' 1997e(a); Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741 (2001).
Exhaustion must be completed before a prisoner files suit. Ahmed v. Dragovich, 297 F.3d
201, 209 & n.9 (3d Cir. 2002).

Summary judgment is proper where, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to
the nonmoving party and drawing all inferences in favor of that party, there is no genuine
issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(2) (We cite to Rule 56 as it appeared before its December 1, 2010
amendment. The amendment has no effect on this appeal); Reedy v. Evanson, 615 F.3d
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Initially, we note that Coopers claims relating to the October 2009 disciplinary
report and hearing are not cognizable in a civil rights action because of the favorable
termination rule announced in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), and extended to
prison disciplinary sanctions that alter the duration of the prisoner's incarceration in
Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641 (1997). Under that rule, a civil rights plaintiff cannot
seek damages for harm caused by actions that implicate the validity of the fact or length
of her confinement, unless she can prove that the sanction has been reversed, invalidated,
or called into question by a grant of federal habeas corpus relief. Heck, 512 U.S. at 48687; Edwards, 520 U.S. at 646-48; Lora-Pena v. FBI, 529 F.3d 503, 506 n.2 (3d Cir. 2008)
(noting that this rule applies to claims brought by both state and federal prisoners). As a
result of the October 2009 disciplinary action, Cooper lost good conduct time; any ruling
on the merits of his related claims would necessarily implicate the duration of his
confinement. Because there is no indication that this sanction has been reversed or
questioned, Coopers related claims are not cognizable.
To the extent that Coopers claims relate to the June 2009 incident report which
did not result in the loss of good conduct time, they also could not survive summary
judgment. At the time he filed suit, Cooper had not completed the administrative
remedies available to him as required by the PLRA. 42 U.S.C. 1997e(a). We note that
even if Coopers claims related to the October 2009 incident report were cognizable
under Balisok, they, too, would be barred by 1997e(a). Although he eventually

197, 210 (3d Cir. 2010). We review the District Courts denial of a motion to reconsider
for abuse of discretion. Caver v. City of Trenton, 420 F.3d 243, 257-58 (3d Cir. 2005).
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completed a round of administrative review for the October 2009 incident report, that
process was completed long after he initiated this suit. Accordingly, all of Coopers
claims related to that incident report were barred. See Ahmed, 297 F.3d at 209 & n.9.
As to his denial of access claim, Cooper pointed to no facts indicating that the
Defendants in any way impeded his access to the courts. Upon a motion for summary
judgment, the non-moving party, to prevail, must make a showing sufficient to establish
the existence of [every] element essential to that partys case, and on which that party
will bear the burden of proof at trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
To prevail on his denial of access claim, Cooper was required to show that the denial
caused actual injury. For instance, he must show that he was prevented from asserting a
nonfrivolous and arguable claim. Christopher v. Harbury, 536 U.S. 403, 415 (2002).
Upon thorough review of the record, we conclude that Cooper failed to point to any
evidence of actual injury. Cooper claimed that he was overcharged for copies but neither
specified what proceeding these copies were intended for nor demonstrated that the
overcharge had any effect on that case. He failed to specify any particular pleading that
he was unable to file as a result of any other action taken by the Defendants. The District
Court correctly held, therefore, that Coopers denial of access claim presented no
disputed issues of material fact.
Accordingly, the District Court was correct to grant the Defendants motion for
summary judgment as to each of Coopers claims. Coopers motion for a preliminary
injunction and his motion for summary judgment were correctly denied. The District
Court also correctly denied Coopers motion to reconsider.
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In light of the foregoing, we hold that Coopers appeal is lacking in arguable legal
merit, and we will dismiss it under 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B). Coopers motion for
appointment of counsel is denied.